Don’t ask me to put any asterisks beside Annika Sorenstam’s two victories this year (or Paula Creamer’s win at Fields) just because Lorena Ochoa wasn’t in the field for them. A win is a win and besides, the field this week was plenty strong enough with only four of the Top 30 absent. Sure, Annika hasn’t beaten Lorena this year – by my reckoning only Louise Friberg, Yani Tseng, Jane Park, Jill McGill, Pat Hurst, Na Yeon Choi and Eva Dahllof have, all at the MasterCard. Even so, Sorenstam is having the second-best 2008 of any LPGA player.
Creamer said in her post-round interview that her hands were shaking as she attempted her final putt. It was her first career playoff experience and it’s sometimes easy to forget that for all her success, Paula is still only 21 years old and developing as a player.
The Constructivist was looking for an explanation for the improved scoring Saturday and Sunday. All of his guesses seemed to have some bearing on the improvement but in my opinion, the largest difference was that the greens were holding much better Saturday and even better on Sunday. Course superintendents heed my advice – if you desire wailing and gnashing of teeth from professional golfers, simply remove all moisture from the putting surfaces. While you’re at it, shave the greenside rough so all those approach shots continue to roll until they encounter a sprinkler head (assuming one exists), a hazard or the bottom of a deep swale. Oh yeah, be sure to soak the areas in front of the green so no one can take the “British Open” approach to bouncing one up there.
Only 13 players finished the event under par but 38 players averaged 72 or better across the four days. So despite the “high scoring”, a lot of players actually improved their average this week. For the record the average round was 72.794, over a third of a shot better than the 2008 average of 73.148.
Beth Bader missed the cut this week, but continued to play on Saturday with no paycheck on the horizon because her pro-am team did made the cut. Beth and partner Aaron Theobald won the team competition by three shots over Teams Sorenstam and Hjorth.
I’ve been back at the drawing board for the last couple of weeks, trying to improve my results in the PakPicker competition at Seoulsisters.com. It may be time to fire the coach – I finished next-to-last this week (out of 23 players), collecting only 12 points thanks to Sorenstam’s good work. Including the winner in my choices would seem to be the hardest part, but filling out the rest of the Top 12 is what’s stumping me these days. The dart board may get utilized for Tulsa.
I have to venture outside of the Top 10 this week to award the Big Surprise. Molly Fankhauser-Cavanaugh, who earned exempt status through the Futures Tour, finished T14 at even par. Playing on a short course in front of the home folks, Morgan Pressel missed the cut and earns the Big Disappointment. UPDATE: On second thought, let's share the BD between Pressel and Jeong Jang - JJ missed the cut too.
At the request of Verdant Garden, here is Jimin Kang’s adventure at 17 yesterday.
Plus her chip shot from the top of the wall.